What is a case study?
A case study is a subset of research design that investigates a problem and provides a solution.
In business, a case study is defined as a material that a business publishes and contains steps of how the business was able to solve a problem that the client was experiencing. Case studies in business are viewed as a method of marketing a business. In other words, it is a way of promoting products and services that a business offers. It serves the same purpose as testimonials, showing how a business meets a client’s needs. But on the other hand, it serves as a tutorial for a product or service that a business offers because it documents the steps of how the product or service worked to eventually solve the client’s problem.
Business case studies are also resourceful in salesforce departments. Sales agents can show potential customers how a product or service of a business works and what problem it solves. The sales agents also use case studies to show potential customers how other people enjoy their product or service and how their problems will be solved if they agree to buy it. In simple terms, case studies prove that a business’s product or service can solve the particular problem it claims to solve or meet the particular need. By the time a potential customer is done reading a business case study, they should be able to see themselves in the shoes of the existing customers. They should imagine themselves in a situation where your product or service has solved their problem.
Difference between a research paper and a case study?
A research paper gets the reader to focus on a particular problem while case studies go beyond that. In a case study, attention to detail is expected from the students as they examine an issue broadly and deeply using various research methods. For example, for students studying law, you may be required to use a case study in examining a particular trial.
One thing that is common in most case studies is storytelling. Storytelling is used to examine an individual’s or a group’s case. A case study is usually shorter than a research paper. It has a maximum of 900 words. On the other hand, a research paper has more than that. There are a lot of similarities between a case study and storytelling. One of the similarities is in the structure. A good explanation for this is that a problem seeking to be solved in a case study is presented as the main character or, as you would call it, the protagonist. The three Acts system can be applied in a case study, whereby the problem is considered Act one, the solution is considered Act two, and the result is considered Act three, which finally leads to a conclusion.
An effective case should be able to analyze a life situation that has a problem that requires a solution. A case study is considered successful if it has achieved the following.
- Identified the problems.
- Made a selection of the main problems concerning the case.
- Given suggestions to the main problems.
- Given recommendations of the most effective solutions.
- Given steps of action concerning the implementation of the solutions.
Five types of case studies
Subjects of case studies range from anything from people, institutions, or even places. The following is a list of the various fields where case studies may apply.
-Historical case studies
Historical events have a variety of sources of information offering a variety of perspectives explaining a particular event.
-Problem-oriented case studies
These types of case studies are to find solutions to problems. Therefore, they usually come as theoretical situations whereby you are required to conduct a thorough examination.
-Cumulative case studies
These types of case studies are to collect information and compare them. They are mostly used in business to inform people of a product’s value.
-Critical case studies
This category of case studies looks into the causes of cases and their implications.
-Illustrative case studies
In illustrative case studies, the writer must describe a particular event and look into the results and the knowledge gained from it.
How to set up research for a case study
The first thing in writing a case study is conducting thorough research. Gathering information from various sources and analyzing the various points of view will inform a more concrete solution. Writing case studies can take time, especially when the research is included. The research phase includes the following steps.
-Identify your main objective
Explain why you are dealing with that particular subject. Next, determine the platform on which your case study will be featured because the public or your target audience will need to access it. Therefore identify the platform your target audience frequents or rather the platform that appeals to your target audience. For example, the case study can be featured on a podcast or in infographics.
-Look for the best candidate for the case study.
-Identify the consequences that may arise due to the particular situation.
-Write down a list of sources that you believe may be credible, then analyze them. Finally, identify the most important facts and single out the problems.
-Narrow down to some of the major issues like what causes them to exist and their effects on the research. In a case study, you should concentrate on a solution that you feel is the best and take an in-depth look.
The structure of a case study
A case study format is usually broken down into seven sections.
- Executive summary
- Case evaluation/Findings
- Proposed solutions/Discussion
How to write an executive summary
The executive summary is also known as the synopsis.
In this section, you are required to do the following.
-Explain why you are conducting the study.
-Give a brief description of the field of your study.
-Give a brief statement of the main problems and findings in the case.
-Decide on a theory that will be applied.
-Highlight any of the assumptions that were applied. When you do not have access to the full information you seek, it is acceptable to use assumptions.
A guide to writing the findings section
This section requires the writer to identify the problems related to the case.
It should be done by analyzing the problem and stating the points that support the findings based on the facts of the case, the theory, and the course’s concepts. It can also be done by identifying other problems that are not obvious.
How to write the discussion
-Give a summary of the main problems.
-Highlight other solutions that can be applied in place of the proposed solution.
– Give a brief explanation of those alternative solutions and their advantages and disadvantages.
-In this section, you are not required to state the theory.
State solutions to the problems or give suggestions on how to upgrade the current status. Give reasons why those solutions will work and provide evidence as to why the solution was effective.
Writing a comprehensive conclusion.
This section is similar to many other conclusion sections in various essays where you are required to give a summary of some of the most important sections. For example, in a case study, you should summarize the relevant points of the findings and discussion.
Contents of a credible recommendation
-Look at the alternative solutions and decide which will be the most effective if implemented.
-Give an explanation that shows why the solution you chose is the most effective in solving the main problems.
– The explanation should be detailed and convincing.
You are supposed to integrate the coursework and the theory at this point.
Giving a relevant recommendation
In this section, you should explain how the solution will be implemented. It should detail the steps of action that need to be taken. You are required to explain what actions should be taken, why they should be taken, and when they should be taken.
-If the solution requires finances, it is important to mention how much the implementation process will cost.
-You are also supposed to estimate the time frame it will take to implement the solution.
Cite all the references appropriately.
You may have data you wanted to include in the case study to strengthen your points at a certain stage, but you did not because it would break the flow. The appendices page is where you are expected to make attachments of any data as long as it is in line with the topic of your case study.